Checking the [matlab]-tag, I noticed that SO says that there are 1.3k followers - a few days ago it was less than 10. Is this a bug or has the tag really become so popular?
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"Followers" is equal to number of people who have favorited (aka interesting-ed) the tag plus the number of email subscribers.
It does not reflect RSS subscribers, as we do not track that.
I don't think so. I see the same explosive increase on other tags. I can think of three reasons for this:
It can also be a combination of any of those.